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The following whitewater rafting information should answer your logistical questions about your Kings river whitewater rafting trip. If you still have questions, feel free to call our office.
Meeting Place and Meeting Times
All trips meet at the ZEPHYR KINGS RIVER BASE CAMP located 2 hours east of Fresno on the eastern edge of Pine Flat Lake. Please scroll down for driving directions and maps.
- 1/2-Day Trips meet at 11:30 a.m. Bring your lunch to eat in camp prior to rafting.
- 1 and 2-Day Trips meet at 8:30 a.m sharp! the day of the trip.
Add-Ons: Upgrade your 1 or 2-day trip by adding prior-night camping and breakfast for $20.00 per person. Arrive between 5:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. the night prior to your trip, spend a relaxing night under the stars listening to the river, and enjoy a full breakfast the next morning. This Camping/Breakfast Add-On will show as an option if you reserve online, or call our office and we can add it for you.
Meals…what is included in my trip?
- 1/2-Day Trips include 10 miles rafting but no meals or camping. No Add-On option.
- 1-Day Trips include 10 miles rafting, lunch on the river, no camping. With Add-On, include prior-night camping and breakfast.
- 2-Day Trips include 20 miles rafting, 1 night camping and 4 meals (lunch day 1 through lunch day 2). With Add-On, include prior-night camping and breakfast on day 1.
About Our Camp
Our beautiful five-acre base camp boasts sandy beaches for camping, fresh mountain spring drinking water available in the kitchen area, a volleyball court and clean restrooms with low flush toilets, sinks, and changing rooms. Picnic tables, a horseshoe pit, and BBQs dot the camp for those wishing to cook your own dinner the night prior to your trip.
You will fall asleep listening to the flowing river…the best sound in the world. The Kings river is only 50 feet away from your tent, and swimming is fantastic (particularly our late season trips with lower water). We also have 3 platform tent rentals available which will sleep up to 5 people each.
If you elect not to camp with us the night before your trip, there are plenty of motels in the Fresno area.
The closest camping to our base camp (other than our base camp) is Kirch Flat campground operated by the US Forest Service. Kirch Flat is only 1/4 mile from our base camp, and right on the river.
Camping is also available at the Choinumne Campground, located near Piedra on the Kings River. For reservations, please contact the Fresno Department of Parks and Recreation at (559) 600-3004. Driving time from Choinumne to our base camp is about 1 hour.
For camping information in Kings Canyon, try National Park Service Campground.
Additional lodging in Kings Canyon, try Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP Lodging.
For lodging in Fresno, check out the Best Western Fresno Inn, only 1.5 hours from our meeting spot.
If you do stay in the Fresno area, don’t forget it will take you about 2 hours to drive to our base camp, and we need you there by 8:00 a.m.
As a service to our clients, Zephyr provides wet suits and paddle jackets free of charge. Wetsuits are recommended on all trips through about mid June, depending on previous winter snowpack. The wetsuits are designed for whitewater rafting, and are very comfortable. The suit is a full-length “farmer-john” style, with sleeveless tops. We also provide an optional nylon paddle jacket which can be worn over the suit when necessary. You are welcome to provide your own suit if you wish. You do not need to make any advanced reservations for your suit unless you have special size considerations.
Your cars are parked at base camp and are accessible when you are in camp. Since we do not need to carry gear on the rafts, you can bring along that extra-large tent, sleeping cot, guitar, etc. No radios or portable TVs however.
What to Bring:
On the river
- Shorts/swim suit
- Tennis shoes or river sandals (no flip flops please)
- Sunglasses with tie-on
- Camera (see above)
- Light Windbreaker
- T-shirt or long-sleeve shirt
- and a wool sweater can be worn with our free wetsuits for spring trips.
- Hat/Visor with tie-on
- Wetsuit (we provide if needed)
- Dry shoes & socks
- Sleeping bag (we have rentals). Warm bag for spring trips, and a light bag for summer trips.
- Tent (we have tent rentals)
- Sweater or Jacket
- Ground cloth, pad or air mattress
- Comfortable clothes for camp
- Toiletries & medications
- Clean set of clothes to leave in your car for the drive home
- Fishing gear with license
- Books, games
- Extra beer or soft drinks
- Rain Gear
Cool weather items
- Polypro or wool long underwear
- Wool or pile pants
- Tent, Rain Gear
- Wool or polypro sweater/jacket
- Wool hat & gloves
Zephyr Base Camp is located on the banks of the mighty Kings River, approximately 63 miles east of Fresno. Travel time from the Fresno area is about two hours. You will be traveling around the entire northern edge of Pine Flat Lake on what seems like an endless windy road. Stay on all paved roads and cross all bridges until you reach our Base Camp.
Follow directions from one of the next three sections depending on where you are coming from.
COMING FROM THE NORTH (Sacramento/Stockton) on Highway 99: Stay on Highway 99 through the main part of Fresno. Just about one mile past the Belmont Ave exit, take the Highway 180/Kings Canyon Exit. This exit will take you over Highway 99, and you will then be heading EAST towards the mountains. Stay on the 180 Freeway about 12 miles to ACADEMY AVE. TURN LEFT ON ACADEMY AVE, and proceed one long block to BELMONT AVE. Turn right on Belmont Ave (heading East) and now follow the directions for “EVERYONE” below.
COMING FROM THE SOUTH (Los Angeles) on Highway 99: As you approach the town of KINGSBURG, take the 18th AVENUE EXIT ( also signed as “Road 12, 18th Ave exit”). Turn right onto 18th Ave (18th Ave turns into Mendocino Ave after a few blocks) and head EAST following the signs to SANGER, which is 14 miles away. Heading north on Mendocino, go through Kingsburg and into Parlier. Go approximately nine miles on Mendocino until you hit ADAMS AVENUE. Turn left (west) on Adams, and drive 1/2 mile to ACADEMY AVENUE. Turn right on Academy, and you are again heading North towards the town of Sanger. Continue traveling through Sanger, until you come to the stop sign at BELMONT AVENUE, which will be about 1.5 miles out of Sanger. Turn right (East) on Belmont. Now follow directions under “EVERYONE”. Last gas stops are in Kingsburg, or in Sanger on Academy Avenue.
COMING FROM THE COAST ON HIGHWAY 41: Heading North on Highway 41, continue north through Fresno and you will merge onto the 180 FREEWAY heading EAST toward Kings Canyon and the mountains. Once you have merged onto the 180 FREEWAY and are heading EAST, continue approx 12 miles to ACADEMY AVE. TURN LEFT on ACADEMY AVE, and proceed one long block to BELMONT AVE. Turn right on Belmont Ave (heading East), and now follow the directions for “EVERYONE” below.
COMING FROM KINGS CANYON/SEQUOIA PARK: Take Highway 180 toward Fresno. In the small town of SQUAW VALLEY, turn right on ELWOOD ROAD. Stay on Elwood road until it hits PIEDRA ROAD. Turn right on Piedra Road until you hit Trimmer Springs Road (Trimmer Road). You are now in PIEDRA. Turn right (heading east) and pick up directions from Piedra detailed below.
- At the BELMONT AVE/ACADEMY AVE intersection in the town of SANGER, set your trip odometer to zero. You have a 1.5 hour drive ahead.
- Proceed East on Belmont, which eventually turns into Trimmer Springs Road. Stay on Trimmer Springs, and match your trip odometer with the following checkpoints:
- At approximately 13 miles you will pass the tiny community of PIEDRA (no services)
- The community of Trimmer (no services) will be at mile 25.6.
- At mile 30.7 you will pass Sycamore Campground (Closed).
- Big Creek bridge is mile 33.3. You will cross this bridge!
- STAY ON ALL PAVED ROADS AND CROSS ALL BRIDGES until you reach our Base Camp.
- LAST CELL PHONE RECEPTION is at “Cell Phone Point” ( the highest hill you will climb before our Base Camp). This is a large right side turnout at the top of the hill with a small sign saying “Cell Site”
- You will be getting close when you pass a power station on your right (brightly lit at night).
- At mile 42, you will pass Kirch Flat Campground (good campground), and immediately past Kirch Flat you will cross the Kings River bridge.
- Once across the bridge, stay on the paved road and go approximately 1/8 mile to our Base Camp. The sign there says ZEPHYR RIVER EXPEDITIONS BASE CAMP. You will also see our blue busses and our parking area.
Important: Make sure you have a full tank of gas before you leave Fresno.
NOTE: Driving time from the Belmont/Academy intersection to our camp is approximately 1.5 hours
- As you approach our Base Camp, there will be a large marked parking area on your right. This is where your vehicles will be left for the duration of your trip.
- To unload your gear, go 100 yards or so past our main parking area, and there is a small turnout on your left. There are steps leading down into our main camping area from this turnout, and this is the best place to unload your car. After your gear has been unloaded, please drive back to the main parking area to park your car for the duration of the trip. Up until 11 p.m., this turnout spot is lighted.